USA issues travel warning to China for coronavirus

Cornelia Mascio
Marzo 27, 2020

Neighboring Huanggang and the city of Ezhou have also had a number of services shut down.

"We are feeling as though it is the end of the world", said one Wuhan resident on China's Weibo social platform, expressing concerns about possible food shortages. In Huanggang, theaters, internet cafes, and other entertainment centers were also ordered closed.

Understandably, locking down a city with a population of 11 million is an incredibly tall order.

As efforts to contain the virus spread, Beijing cancelled massive gatherings that usually attract throngs at temples during the New Year holiday, while the historic Forbidden City will close from Saturday.

Wuhan's train station and airport, which should have been packed with people travelling for holiday family reunions, were nearly empty except for workers on Thursday afternoon.

This is why so many people in China are now wearing masks but just as important is transmission by touch, when someone touches a hard contaminated surface such as a door handle or passenger pole on a train or bus and then touches their own face.

In China, the illnesses from the newly identified coronavirus first appeared last month in Wuhan, an industrial and transportation hub in central China's Hubei province.

Most of the 644 cases are in China, but patients have been confirmed in Japan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam and the US.

So far, 17 people have died after contracting this version of the coronavirus, with over 600 people reported to have been infected.

WHO convened its emergency committee of independent experts on Thursday to consider whether the outbreak should be declared a global health emergency, after the group failed to come to a consensus on Wednesday.

"Be aware that planned travel within China may be disrupted", it added.

While departures were banned, trains and planes were still allowed into the city.

"The situation will be pretty similar in pretty much all United Kingdom cities with a large number of Chinese students".

Tom Solomon, a professor at the University of Liverpool, warned that imposing a lockdown could be "counter-productive".

The Wuhan coronavirus is believed to have emerged from illegally traded wildlife at a seafood market, with experts suggesting the virus was passed to humans from snakes or wolf cubs.

Outbreak: The current epidemic, which started in mid-December, has already affected more than 500 people, killing several.

"As there is no effective therapeutics or vaccines, the best way to deal with severe infections of CoVs is to control the source of infection, early diagnosis, reporting, isolation, supportive treatments, and timely publishing epidemic information to avoid unnecessary panic", the researchers write. About 5,000 people remain under medical observation.

Nonetheless, scientists at the Imperial College in London estimate that 4,000 people have been infected in Wuhan.

Now known as 2019-nCoV, the virus is understood to be a new strain of coronavirus not previously identified in humans.

U.S. health officials started screening passengers arriving from China at John F Kennedy International Airport in New York, San Francisco International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport after the first case was confirmed in Washington state on Tuesday.

World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Wednesday indicated the situation was not escalating out of control, saying there was "stability" for the moment.

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